The Phil Silvers Show, 1955
The Americans were doing sitcom long before us and many of their sitcoms have been massively popular here in the UK.
The Phil Silvers Show, often referred to as Sergeant Bilko is a classic example. Originally a 1950’s US sitcom, I can remember this been hugely popular over here in the 1970’s. If memory serves me correctly it was shown in the popular BBC2 six o’clock slot, a slot that was occupied by other great US comedies such as: Laurel and Hardy, Charlie Chaplin and Harold Lloyd.
The series ran for 4 seasons with 143 episodes. A huge hit it won three consecutive Emmy Awards and turned it’s creator Nat Hiken from a highly regarded behind-the-scenes comedy writer into a publicly recognized creator. Phil Silvers became a household name, he even had a starring role in the 1967 Carry On film: Carry ON Follow That Camel.
The show was made into a film in 1996. Starring Steve Martin, the film failed to live up to the success of the original TV series.
Welcome to Fort Baxter. Here we find a group of US Soldiers that make up The Fort Baxter Motor Pool, under the command of Sergeant Ernest G. Blko.
The series centres around Bilko’s various schemes to wheedle money through various get-rich-quick scams and promotions, or to find ways to get others to do his work for him. The soldiers under his command unwittingly find themselves aiding and abetting him.
Channel: CBS (US), BBC (UK)
Created By: Nat Hiken
Original US Transmission Dates: September 20th, 1955 – September 11th, 1959